Flipping Channels in Japan

I lived in Japan for 6 years, from the age of 11 to 17. I loved living there but one of the downsides to living on a military base in Japan was that we had only two American channels for about 4 years. We had the Armed Forces Network (AFN,) which was basically satellite and was only good for sports and news. Then there was the Far East Network (FEN,) which showed pre-recorded television from the states. We had all your basic shows, if it was popular in the states we had it. Just not at the same time as in the states. I can’t remember how far behind we were but it was probably like 4 weeks behind. I could be wrong. The other downside is that we didn’t get every show, like we didn’t have Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because it had more of a cult following and not so much high ratings. Luckily I had my mom, who lived in the states at the time, who recorded Buffy for me on VHS, along with Hercules and Xena episodes (don’t judge me,) and mailed them to me.

So when there was nothing on the two American channels the only other option, besides watching some VHS tape or Laser Disc, was to watch Japanese shows. Which was hard when you didn’t speak the language but awesome at the same time. You could pretty much make up your own dialogue in your head and create your own story through what you were watching.

I got to see Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon before they ever came to the US and were popular with American kids. Sailor Moon was my show! I loved to watch it. Yeah I had no idea what was going on, it didn’t matter. I made up some entertaining stories to go along with the show. My favorite character was Sailor Jupiter because she had a ponytail and I had my hair in a ponytail a lot. I don’t feel I should justify my logic, it’s just how it was, you know since I really didn’t know what was going on with the show. I will say that I have yet to watch the show dubbed in English. I feel like it would just take away all the fun out of the cartoon that I once loved.

The other thing that was awesome to watch in Japan, were the game shows. Which most Americans know about Japanese game shows and how crazy they are. There was even a Supernatural episode where Dean and Sam end up on a Japanese game show. And yes folks they are that crazy. I was obsessed with watching them, just because they were so insane. It was quite mind blowing.

Eventually we did get cable on base with your basic MTV and Nickelodeon, it was like a week or two behind what was being broadcast in America. So I stopped watching a lot of Japanese television but I will never forget the experience. And I also learned from that experience, that no matter what country I’m in I will always work out a way to watch something on television. Not necessarily a great lesson to learn but hey I can’t help who I am and what interests me. 



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